COHAB Initiative

COHAB Initiative

COHAB Initiative

COHAB is a community of individuals and organizations working together to address the gaps in awareness, policy and action on the links between biodiversity and human health and well-being. The Initiative supports efforts to enhance human security through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the goods and services it provides. COHAB provides a platform for dialogue, promoting understanding and experience sharing, and working to build partnerships across sectors and cultural divides.

Company details

P.O. Box 16 , Tuam , Co. Galway Ireland
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Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Health and Safety
Market Focus:
Internationally (various countries)
Year Founded:
2005

The COHAB Initiative (Co-operation on Health and Biodiversity) is a community of individuals and organisations working together to address the gaps in awareness, policy and action on the links between biodiversity and human health and well-being. The Initiative supports efforts to enhance human security through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the goods and services it provides.

COHAB provides a platform for dialogue, promoting understanding and experience sharing, and working to build partnerships across sectors and cultural divides. The activities of the COHAB Initiative are directed by a Secretariat, established in 2007 and currently based in Ireland. The Secretariat works with the logistic support of key international partners, and its activities are guided by a Steering Committee comprising multi-lateral organisations working in health, development, environment and related areas. Following three years of development and partnership building, including two successful international meetings held in Galway, the importance of the work of the COHAB Initiative is increasingly recognised on an international level. The Secretariat has developed a broad programme of work for the period 2010 – 2015, to support effective and equitable primary health care in line with the principles of the World Health Declaration; to assist efforts to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals; and to support the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The COHAB Initiative was established in response to the outputs of the First International Conference on Health and Biodiversity (COHAB 2005), which was held in Galway, Ireland, during 2005; and the reports of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. The COHAB Initiative operates through Partnership arrangements with a growing network of organisations worldwide, representing government and multi-lateral agencies, academic institutes, NGOs, indigenous communities and the private sector. These organisations share a common interest - to enhance co-operation between the health and biodiversity sectors, working together for a healthy planet with healthy people. Major areas of focus include:

  • Poverty reduction and livelihood security
  • Food security, nutrition and dietary health
  • Emerging diseases
  • Natural products and medicinal resources
  • Disaster prevention, relief and recovery
  • Traditional knowledge
  • Indigenous community health
  • Social and spiritual well-being and mental health

On this website you will find information about the COHAB Initiative, it’s objectives and activities, plus details of how the Initiative is organised. In the coming months, the website will include a virtual discussion forum, information on COHAB Initiative projects and events, and details of the activities of COHAB Partner organisations.

Welcome to the website of the COHAB Initiative (Co-Operation On Health And Biodiversity), an international programme of work on human well-being and sustainable development.

COHAB is a community of individuals and organisations working together to address the gaps in awareness, policy and action on the links between biodiversity and human health and well-being. The Initiative supports efforts to enhance human security through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the goods and services it provides. COHAB provides a platform for dialogue, promoting understanding and experience sharing, and working to build partnerships across sectors and cultural divides. The COHAB Initiative works towards a future:

where human health and well-being is enhanced and made more secure by the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, not threatened by its loss;

where the goal of providing universal, accessible and equitable health care and the goal of ensuring ecosystem sustainability are integrated in principle, policy and practice;

where plans, programmes and policies on health, environment and development take appropriate account of the health risks and impacts of biodiversity loss and ecosystem change, and recognise the critical importance of biodiversity conservation to achieving their objectives;

where governments, civil society, the private sector and the public have a shared sense of stewardship over biodiversity and the benefits it provides, and work together to address the issues linking health and biodiversity in a spirit of partnership;

where local and indigenous communities are empowered to protect, promote and provide for their own well-being and health care needs through the conservation of local biodiversity resources and associated traditional knowledge systems;

and where an understanding of our shared dependence upon and responsibilities towards biodiversity provides a framework for greater co-operation and partnership across cultures, borders, disciplines and traditions.

Biodiversity, through the provision of ecosystem goods and services, provides the basis for all life on earth. It supports all of our economic and social development, and is vital to our health and well-being. Species of animals and plants have always been important as sources of food, fuels, medicines, clothing and building materials, while ecosystems provide and maintain supplies of clean water, healthy soil and clean air. However, this is frequently taken for granted in an increasingly developed and globalised world.

Truly sustainable development must incorporate all areas of human activity and our interactions with the environment, and therefore requires that social, economic, public health and environmental needs be resolved holistically. In order to fully achieve sustainable progress - whether at local, national, regional or international levels - policy makers, scientists, stakeholders and the wider public must work together.

...where human health and well-being is enhanced and made more secure by the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, not threatened by its loss;

...where the goal of providing universal, accessible and equitable health care and the goal of ensuring ecosystem sustainability are integrated in principle, policy and practice;

...where plans, programmes and policies on health, environment and development take appropriate account of the health risks and impacts of biodiversity loss and ecosystem change, and  recognise the critical importance of biodiversity conservation to achieving their objectives;

...where governments, civil society, the private sector and the public have a shared sense of stewardship over biodiversity and the benefits it provides, and work together to address the issues linking health and biodiversity in a spirit of partnership;

...where local and indigenous communities are empowered to protect, promote and provide for their own well-being and health care needs through the conservation of local biodiversity resources and associated traditional knowledge systems;

...and where an understanding of our shared dependence upon and responsibilities towards biodiversity provides a framework for greater co-operation and partnership across cultures, borders, disciplines and traditions.